Learn the Joy of Needlepoint

Beginner's Guide to Needlepoint

Our Simple Beginner's Path

Learn The Basics

Continue reading this page to learn everything you need to know to succeed on your first needlepoint project.

Pick a Kit

Pick a project from our beginner's guide or customize your own kit.

Choose a Beginner Kit

Enjoy the Process

Needlepoint with the comfort of knowing we’re always here to help. If local to our store, join open table stitching times. Refer back to this guide as you need it or join a beginner class for more attention.

Get it finished

When you’re done, bring or mail it back to us to help transform your needlepoint into a decorative or functional object with our finishing services.

Finishing Services

Getting Started

Needlepoint combines creativity and therapy, engaging your hands and imagination. If you're new to it, don't worry - our guide is here to lead you to blissful stitching.

First off...

What is Needlepoint?

Needlepoint is a type of stitching that involves repeatedly passing thread—different thread materials create different textures—through an open weave mesh canvas. Needlepoint's durability makes it such a popular embroidery choice for a myriad of household items, including pillows, fashion accessories, gifts and much more.

Now it's time to sit down and go Stitch by Stitch.

Here's what you'll need to get started


Needle Threader
A Sharp Scissor
Canvas Design & Thread
Laying Tool
Needle Minder
Stretcher Bars

Don't worry. When you order a beginner kit, we'll get you all ready for success.

10, 13, 14 & 18

Mesh Size

Mesh count measures holes per inch. 13 mesh canvas will have 13 holes per inch and 18 mesh will have 18 per inch. 13 mesh holes will be larger as there are less per inch. Some feel that 13 mesh is a quicker stitch while 18 mesh canvases can support more detail in the the designs.

The right tools

Needle Size

Below is a common list of corresponding needle sizes for the appropriate canvas mesh. As the #of the needle get larger the actual needle gets smaller/thinner. You may also want to take into consideration the fiber you are using when choosing a needle.

Tapestry Needles are the most common to use, but occasionally a sharper chenille needle is called for.

10-12 mesh / 18 needle size

12-14 mesh / 20 needle size

14-18 mesh / 22 needle size

22-24mesh / 24/26

A bit about threads...

Single Ply v. Stranded Threads

A single ply thread is designed to use as is when you take it from the skein (the bundle/card of thread). A stranded or plyable thread has multiple strands that can be divided, making them plyable into smaller or larger groups depending on the mesh size of your canvas or the stitch you will be using.

Refer to the article below, which lists all the threads we carry and how many strands to use for 13 or 18 mesh.

Helpful Read: What Should I Use

Let's Start

Welcome & WHAT YOu'll need

Watch our videos on how to needlepoint

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Step 1

Open Perle Cotton

  1. Keep your number on the tag.
  2. Pull one side of the thread out.
  3. Separate the thread & untwist it.
  4. Cut each end with scissors.
  5. Pull one strand out.

When storing your threads, gently tie the bundle in a knot and place in a dry bag for safe keeping.

Step 2

Ply Strandable Thread

  1. Cut yourself a length of thread with sharp scissors.
  2. Tap the end to separate the bundles.
  3. Pull one out
  4. Tap the end of that bundle and pull them apart.
  5. Place them together and thread your needle.

Step 3

Thread the needle

  1. Cut the end of the thread so it is fresh and straight. 
  2. Dampen the end of the thread and squash the fibers together between your thumb and index finger so they are flat.
  3. Fold over the very end of the thread and thread this folded end through the eye of the needle. You can use a needle threader to make it easier.

Step 4

How to Start & Stop

  1. Knot the end of your thread.
  2. Thread the needle through the top of the canvas, so the knot is on top.
  3. Move your needle horizontally across the path of the knot and begin stitching toward the knot.
  4. The thread will cover the back and keep everything tucked in.
  5. Turn your canvas over and push the needle through about 6 stitches — giving it a little tug. Then, cut off the excess thread.


Continental Stitch

  1. Thread needle and start from below.
  2. Insert needle diagonally.
  3. Maintain tension for consistency.
  4. Repeat, covering canvas area systematically.


How to Read a Canvas

  1. Identify canvas threads.
  2. Stitch down on vertical threads.
  3. Stitch up on horizontal threads.
  4. Imagining sliding down the "poles" and "walking" up the steps.

perfecting your project

How to Use a Laying Tool

Use a laying tool in needlepoint by gently guiding threads already stitched to lie smoothly and evenly against each other. This enhances the finished appearance and texture of your work.

enhancing your project

Basic Beading

To do basic beading in needlepoint, thread a beading needle with suitable thread, bring it up through the canvas, slide on a bead, and then secure the bead with a stitch through the canvas. Repeat this process for desired bead placements, creating elegant and textured embellishments.

You're Ready!

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Needlepoint for Beginners

Discover the calming and therapeutic effects of needlepoint with our beginner's guide. We'll guide you every step of the way to create a plan that fits your unique needs. Choose your first project now. Needlepoint is a calming and therapeutic hobby that can provide a sense of purpose and creativity. If you're new to needlepoint, getting started can be overwhelming. At Stitch by Stitch, we understand how it feels to be a beginner because we were beginners once too.